eloise {three & three-quarter years}

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{lion: jellycat via nordstrom // dress: Hanna Andersson (old; hand-me-down from a friend) // leggings: Cat and Jack for Target}

{three & three-quarter years} It seems like Eloise has grown up SO much in the past few months! She’s such a little lady!

Every afternoon (when Daphne goes down for a nap) Eloise has quiet time. For me this is my only free-time during the day and I think it’s so important to help foster independent play and down-time for Eloise. Obviously she used to nap during this time, but these days she maybe takes one or two naps in a week. As with her last quarterly update, if she does snooze at all during this time, it means we have more melt-downs and she stays up super late at night (even though we keep her bedtime at the same time). So, generally we like her to stay awake during this time!

Since Daphne has been around, Eloise really hasn’t had much consistent screen time. We FaceTime with family and friends, but shows or games are pretty much non-existent. I used to let Eloise watch a show on most afternoons while I was cooking dinner, but since we don’t want Daphne to watch TV and it is impossible for me to keep Daphne in the kitchen while I am trying to get dinner ready, it means that time in the late afternoon is play time for Daphne and Eloise in the living room. But we don’t want to completely stop doing screen time, so we started doing a family movie night once per month on a Saturday night. We will put Daphne down at her normal bedtime and get in our jammies, pop some popcorn and maybe get a special (small) dessert and watch a movie, just the three of us! The first movie was Moana which she liked, but there is one particular scene towards the end that scares her. However, she constantly asks to listen to the soundtrack on Spotify. And the other movie we have done is Coco which was SO cute! We didn’t know what to expect and there were a few scenes that Eloise didn’t like, but she really enjoyed all of the singing. What are other good kid-friendly movies? (Other than Frozen.)

Most mornings (or at least a few each week) Aaron goes into work late enough for the girls to see him in the morning and can help out with breakfast before catching his bus to work. Every single morning Eloise wants to see Papa. Lately I have been the one to go and get her up at 8 am (because she stays in her room until we come in!) and she will run down the hall to see Papa!

After taking a brief hiatus from extracurricular activities, we started Eloise in swim lessons to gear up for the summer. We will have a few opportunities to be in a pool or swimming this summer, so I wanted Eloise to be comfortable in the water. She won’t learn to swim completely on her own yet, but she’s the type of kid that doesn’t like water splashed on her face in the bathtub, so it’s baby steps. We enrolled her in a school that only does individual 15 minute lessons and it has been so great for her! We are planning on one weekly lesson until the end of June (which is when our “summer vacation” actually starts since she is in school until June 21st).

Eloise still LOVES school and we love the community that we share with her. The teachers, parents, and kids are all amazing and we will very much miss everyone next year when Eloise moves onto pre-K at a new school. But even though Eloise loves school, ever since returning from spring break, Eloise has had a lot of trouble with drop-offs in the morning. She is fine when we get there, but when it comes time for me and Daphne to leave, she becomes a stage five clinger and gets upset when I try to leave. I know that it is best if I just go, so usually her teacher will try to distract her (or hold her) while I walk out the door. And every day it takes only a few minutes for Eloise to compose herself and then have the best time at school!

Taking after her Grammie (Mimi), Eloise is obsessed with art. She prefers painting, but this time of year she is all about sidewalk chalk. Her happy place is sitting on the sidewalk in front of our house drawing pictures and waving and saying “hi” to neighbors. I am thinking about putting a chalkboard outside in our backyard for her? Or I saw this adorable art studio playhouse in the new Magnolia Journal?

Eloise likes to wear her shoes on the opposite feet. She says it is more comfortable. It is usually a battle I am not willing to pick as it already feels impossible to get out of the house some days!

This will be something I will be glad for in the future but Eloise is OBSESSED with sunscreen. As soon as it is the slightest bit warm and sunny outside, she tells me that we need sunscreen when we go outside. And she doesn’t mind being slathered in it either which is awesome for the summer, and especially since I use physical sunscreen which is very white and pasty for the most part. I got her a little stick of sunscreen for her school bag to put on before she goes outside and every single time we go outside she asks if she can put it on. Start ’em young!

For a while now, maybe a year, Eloise has had this imaginary life and family in Arizona that she constantly talks about. She is married to Papa (Aaron which is SO sweet!) and has about 46 or 69 kids, depending on the day; some of these kids are her dolls, but some of them are unnamed. And she has this house in Arizona and she commutes back and forth either by plane or car to Seattle to visit. Her kids, not surprisingly, do almost the exact same things that she and Daphne do! It is really great to see her imagination.

And the newest rendition of Things Eloise Says:

“Step shoes” or high heels.

“Mama, Papa, I terribly need you!”

“Papa, can you switch the picture?” (She meant change the channel.)

“Mama, they are cleaning the ice!” (Watching Olympic curling on TV.)

E noticed the packaging changed on the Newman’s Organic prunes. The old package had a picture of Pa and Nell Newman, but the new package only has Pa. “Why did they take her off of the package? Did she not make the prunes right?”

“Mama, did you know shoes have tongues? But they don’t lick.”

Me: “We need to get gas (in the car).” Eloise: “Yeah, the car needs breakfast.”

“Papa, can you find all the hideaway vegetables?” (Asking Aaron to have the onions and peppers taken off of her pizza.)

“Hey Mama, just a friendly reminder: Daphne likes Charlotte the Cow (a stuffed animal).”

While she is lying in bed and singing: “Happy Birthday to someone I don’t know! Happy Birthday to You!” (Probably her favorite song ever.)

“Mama, those eggs are really darn good!”

“I was struggling.” To Aaron when he was talking to her about an EPIC melt-down she had after school one day this week.

I definitely wasn’t as good about writing down what she said these past few months, but Eloise is hilarious!

{weight} 38ish pounds (my guess); height: 38 inches

{hair} (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 20 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  mostly 4T, some 5 or 4 to 6 (which is a kid’s XS).

{diapers} NONE!

{feeding} during the day, three meals, (sometimes a) morning snack, & (sometimes an) afternoon snack. cup of milk with every meal.

{likes} singing, dancing, taking walks around the blocks, talking to the neighbors, Teddy the mailman, school and her friends, Daphne, coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, any person outside on the sidewalk, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring, buckles, jumping, watching out the front window (dogs, kids, trucks), books, mama & papa’s cell phone, FaceTime (but she always wants to hold the phone), bath time, shoes, mama’s (diaper) bag, putting things inside a bag or box, helping with anything & everything, when Papa comes home from work.

{dislikes} not being included, having something taken away from her, not eating when someone else is, being hungry, TimeOut.

{nicknames} Bug, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Wheezy, Kiddo, Love, Bugaboo, E-Lo or Elle.

Happy three & three-quarter years E! You will be FOUR before we know it!

M

This post contains affiliate links.

friday I’m in love {april}

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Hello Friday, it’s been awhile! Life gets busy and it is easy to just shrug off extra work, but I do miss creating (& sharing) these Friday posts. So I have decided that instead of doing them weekly I will do a monthly post instead. Seems reasonable, right?

So here’s my Friday loves this month.

{one} Keenz Stroller Wagon.

You may have seen on my Instagram recently that I picked up this wagon and it is LOVE! I have been thinking about getting a wagon for the girls, especially for the summer, but was waiting until Daphne was sitting really well (um, that’s been happening for a while!) and the weather got nicer. I had my eye on the Keenz wagon since probably last year, but the price point gave me pause. But then the Target heavens opened up a few weeks ago and there was a deal for $100 off, so I frantically searched the Seattle area for one and ended up driving 45 minutes out to Issaquah one afternoon to pick ours up. We have been using it as an alternative to our stroller and I cannot wait to take it out on all of our summer adventures to the park, zoo, and splash pad!

You can get one here, here, and here.

{two} Madewell jeans.

I have professed my love for Madewell jeans in the past and will continue to do the same here. I was already a convert with the 8″ rise that I had previously purchased but the 9″ high rise skinnies are true LOVE! Guys, these are really so good that I refuse to purchase any other brand of jeans. Seriously. The rise is perfectly high (without being too high) and there is no bagging or sagging and they are skinny all the way to (just above) my ankle. Plus with the higher rise you can wear cropped tees and sweaters without showing too much skin (or feeling to hipster). My advice is to go down a size than your normal (WIN) since the fabric has a bit of stretch.

{three} Instant Pot Mac N’ Cheese (with veggies).

Have I talked about our Instant Pot? Aaron got one for Christmas and recently I have been really trying to use it, so at least once per week I plan a meal using it. And actually last week I planned three meals with it since it was spring break and I knew I would be short on time (and patience) by the time 5 o’clock rolled around. There are lots of amazing things you can do with the Instant Pot, including that it is an amazing rice cooker and it can cook frozen meat so quickly (you don’t even have to defrost it). But our favorite recipe, by far, that we’ve made in the Instant Pot is Mac N’ Cheese!

This is the recipe we use though there are about 7,000 on Pinterest and floating around on the Interwebs. When we make it, I make sure to get spiral-y noodles and use only about half of the evaporated milk. (And you can get organic evaporated milk at Trader Joe’s!) I also add veggies to make it feel a little healthier and more like a meal (rather than a side, though it would do that well too) like roasted broccoli or cauliflower, or defrosted peas or broccoli. *Also, if you haven’t used an Instant Pot before, this recipe says it can be made in 4 minutes which is true for actual cooking time, but it takes more like 20 minutes since the Instant Pot takes some time to pressurize before cooking.*

{four} Nutcase helmets.

As we are getting into spring Eloise is more frequently asking to ride her bike (she has this Miir Bambini pedal-less one which we love) when we go out for family walks in the afternoon or evening. And about a month ago we were headed out the door and realized that Eloise’s old helmet did not fit… but we LOVED her last one (and will save it for Daphne) and got her a new one from the exact same brand which is our favorite: Nutcase! (And Aaron has one too.) Eloise’s old one was this Baby Nutty in Moo and her new one is this Little Nutty in Cake Pops. You can find these helmets locally (at Gregg’s Cycles) and on Amazon as well. We love them because they are easy to adjust, have super cute prints, and the chin buckle is magnetic (super easy for getting off and on).

{five} ASICS x Liberty shoes.

As you know from Instagram and my recent blog post I have been doing the BBG workout program along with my regular Pure Barre class each week to stay in shape. Once I finished the first 12 weeks, I decided it would probably be a good idea to get a new pair of workout shoes. Embarrassingly I haven’t bought a new pair for many years! And while I still need to get a good pair for my walking cardio, I spotted these beautiful ASICS x Liberty shoes and was sold: my new BBG shoes. My love for Liberty fabrics goes back a while and this was just too perfect (I got them in the Sprout Green). Plus, this style of shoe has good reviews for a BBG-type workout and I wouldn’t have gotten them just because they were so pretty! And after a few workouts, it is still love (and they are super light weight too)!

{six} Date Nights.

And I will wrap up my April loves with something that Aaron and I have been doing since the beginning of the year and it is a definite LOVE and that is DATE NIGHT! Each month, we set aside one evening and hire a sitter and head out, just the two of us. I wanted to really focus on us this year and even though it feels like a splurge sometimes (holy cow it is expensive to hire a sitter for two littles!) but it is worth it. We’ve done manis and pedis, lunch, a birthday dinner celebration, and a few double date nights which have been so, so fun! And we have found a sitter that consistently comes and knows the routine with the girls which makes it that much easier.

What are you loving this month?

M

This post contains affiliate links.

the best car seats {by review.com}

Car seats. Ugh. Almost no other kids’ item gives me more anxiety than car seats.

If you know me, I am a bit of an anxious person and can keep myself together, but I am close to neurotic about car seats. There are so many choices and so much information, it is overwhelming, even to a non-anxious person. I tried to be pragmatic, but when I was pregnant, I spent hours and hours poring over blog posts, websites, books, articles, Consumer Reports, etc. about car seats. And then I asked every single parent that I knew what car seat they had and why they chose it. Every one is different and has different needs, but I got a lot of good information.

The first decision that Aaron and I made was that we would start with an infant seat. For us, it felt like a no-brainer because our stroller (ours is the Bugaboo Bee 3) had the ability to adapt to a car seat. Even before we were parents we knew the convenience of leaving the baby in the car seat (if possible) was worth it! For our infant seat, we settled on the Chicco KeyFit 30 (which we also used for Daphne) and I would highly recommend it!

But then, we had to start thinking about another car seat less than a year after Eloise was born because infant seats have such a short life (it is one of the cons of this type of seat) and babies get bigger, and in this case, longer. We moved Eloise into a convertible seat (rear-facing) just shy of her first birthday. And after hours and hours of research, we settled on the Britax Boulevard. Again, we highly recommend this seat and even bought another one (but with the Click-Tight feature) when Daphne grew out of the infant seat.

Enter: reviews.com. Specifically, the reviews on Best Infant Car Seat and Best Convertible Car Seat. Reviews.com is a local Seattle company that researches household items and goods and then posts reviews on the BEST products in any given category. Guys, this is life-changing! Imagine the hours you could save not googling or scanning 10,000 Amazon reviews. This is the information that I wish I would have had when we were buying car seats or really any household good!

Top Picks for Infant Car Seat

{image via reviews.com}

In each article, there is a quick synopsis about what product is the best so you don’t have to scroll and scroll to find the answer, and then there are highlights of the best two products, followed by a much more in-depth review of why and how the best products in that category were picked.

As the articles both state, all car seats have to meet the same minimum safety requirements, so when you are choosing a seat, it is features you are really shopping (and paying) for. And because incorrectly using a car seat is extremely common, the best car seats are really the ones that are the easiest to use. For example, most infant seats have a separate base that you leave buckled into the car so that you can easily take the seat in and out without having to secure it each time. And even convertible seats are getting upgraded features that help ease use, like the Click-Tight feature on the Britax seat that allows for much easier installation.

Featured Image for Convertible Car Seat

{image from reviews.com}

The emphasis on these easy-to-use features is a great way to simplify car seat shopping and help narrow down the options. And while you don’t necessarily have to buy exactly the seat that is recommended in the article (we have different versions/models of two of the seats recommended) it does save you from having 25 open web browsers to compare and contrast car seat features. (Yep, that was totally me!) I wish I would have had this basic guidance when choosing car seats for my kids!

Be sure to go check out the Best Infant Car Seats and the Best Convertible Car Seats!

And be sure to check out all of the reviews over on Review.com!

Disclosure: Review.com reached out to see if I would share these car seat reviews to my blog readers. I was not offered any compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliate links.

guest room/office: styled hydrangeas {sponsored}

Every New Year I find myself wanting a fresh start and get into cleaning/decluttering mode as well as “buy all the new things” mode. Great for post-holiday sales but bad for my wallet since it was just Christmas, right?

So this year, I have been in purge and decluttering mode (you should see the stacks and bags full of things in our office ready to go OUT) but have also been trying to re-style and refresh some of the spaces in our home.

In an effort to save on the amount of things we have (as well as saving money) I have been extremely selective about what has been coming into our home. It is easy to just buy all of the things, especially home decor, in order to fit the empty space, but I have taken a new approach and have really enjoyed it much more. Instead of the constant buying, styling, and getting rid of (and then rinse and repeat) I have been editing pieces out of our decor that I don’t really LOVE and then shopping around the house to see if there is something we already have that would fit what I am looking for. Sometimes I can restyle a piece in a new space and it’s perfect and sometimes I do need/want something new and then it goes on my to-buy list for when I am shopping.

One newish thing that I have been really liking in some of our spaces is faux flowers. In the past I wasn’t a huge fan, but some of the faux flowers are really good! So when Silk Plants Direct reached out late last year to see if I wanted to style and blog about silk flowers, I had to say yes!

There are tons (and tons) of options on Silk Plants Direct, so if you are shopping, I would highly recommend setting some filter criteria. I sorted by flower type (hydrangeas and peonies are right at the top for me) as well as by arrangement (I wanted something already in a vase or container). And then it was onto shopping! Faux flowers (good ones at least) tend to be a little pricey, but I think it’s worth the cost. If you buy real flowers, you know how expensive of a habit that can be, and you don’t have to replace faux flowers every week (or change out the water).

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I loved this purple and green hydrangea arrangement and I knew I could style it in a couple of places in our home (office, bedroom, living room). At least for me, I like a simple arrangement (flowers and color) in a simple container (no big designs or graphics) because it is easiest for me to style it with other things. For the time-being, this arrangement will live in our office/guest room on one side of the dressers, though I am sure it will move around the house once I start to get the itch to re-style!

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And after having this arrangement in the house for a bit, I have been really happy with them. The flowers were a little smashed from shipping in a box, but I gently fluffed them up which worked well. From a distance, I think these are pretty good faux hydrangeas, and even the “water” looks pretty real. I will definitely peruse Silk Plants Direct if I find I need more faux arrangements for some of our other spaces and also really love the idea of a faux flower plant for outside during the spring and summer.

Be sure to check out Silk Plants Direct on social media (depending on what your preference is): Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest.

AND Silk Plants Direct is offering 10% off for blog readers for any order (except custom orders) if you use the code BLOGGER10 at check-out.

Do you have any faux flowers in your home decor?

M

This is a sponsored post brought to you in collaboration with Silk Plants Direct. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

 

daphne {week 46}

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{letterboard: Letter Folk (Poet) // romper: Primary // keys: Amazon}

{week 46} It has been a BIG week around here with Baby D, and the weeks are just flying by. I keep looking at the calendar and just can’t believe we are getting so close to March 1st. Commence party planning.

Daphne’s official first words are “good girl.” We have been noticing her saying it for a while, mostly around Sadie, but will almost always say it on command and also when she sees Eloise. It’s the cutest! We have a video and I will be sure to post it soon. Daphne also says “mama,” “mimi,” “bop bop,” and occasionally “papa” but none of those things are in context, so I think they are just sounds at this point.

Also, Daphne is officially waving AND clapping. Guys, I remember this from when Eloise was this age and it was the best. If you say “Hi, Daphne” and wave at her, she will most certainly turn towards you, smile, and give a big arm wave. Like her entire arm. And she also likes to spin her arms around during mealtime (or when she is in her highchair). Cute, but not amusing when there is food on her tray. And clapping, oh clapping. Daphne has been working on getting those hands together for a little while now, but she finally got it. And there is lots and lots of clapping these days.

Daphne is so, so fast and she is into everything. And if you can’t find her, it’s a sure bet that she is in the bathroom pulling all of the toilet paper off the roll and clapping!

We are still doing well with one morning nursing session and four bottles throughout the day. At first we were starting with 3 oz bottles since we weren’t sure exactly how much she was consuming (that’s one of the tricky parts about breastfeeding) but it seems like she wants more like 4 oz. I also updated some of her bottles to the Level 4 nipples (which increases how much milk comes out) and now she can down a bottle in a matter of minutes. It’s really impressive.

We have also been really trying to offer Daphne water at mealtime too (since she has a formula bottle before meals) in either a small cup (a shot glass to be specific) or a straw cup and she LOVES it! About half of the time she will swallow the water once it is in her mouth, and the other half it just falls out of her mouth. She got this silicone pocket bib from Santa though and we have been loving it! I like the pocket and the adjustable neck strap. Plus, it is super easy to clean and dries really quickly. I may pick up another one!

And here is Eloise’s 46 week update.

Happy 46 weeks Daphne!

M

This post contains affiliate links.

 

my {thanksgiving} week in pictures.

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{Daphne was really interested in my parents’ puppy Izzy. They were pretty cute together!}

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{And Daph also really loved that baby she could see in the oven. Kisses all around!}

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{I picked up this turkey kit at TJ’s last week and Grammie was so nice to do it with Eloise. Cutest turkey of the year.}

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{Eloise got a few early Christmas presents, including Candyland, which she wants to play non-stop. If you come over to visit anytime soon, it is pretty much a guarantee that she will ask you to play a game with her.}

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{The girls with my brother, Uncle Jason, and Aunt Kelly on Thanksgiving.}

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{Love them.}

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{And Daphne with my oldest sister Keri (or Aunt Dollie as we call her).}

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{And that belly!}

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{Daphne could not wait to play/destroy all of the dollhouse pieces and there were moments this week where Eloise would let her play. It was the sweetest.}

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{And Sadie is always the protector of these girls. Wherever they were, she was too.}

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{I got to hang out with my old girlfriends TWICE this week, including a mamas only dinner! We had amazing food and conversation and shut the restaurant down! Such a great time with these ladies.}

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{I may or may not have forgotten to get a Thanksgiving picture of the girls (and definitely didn’t get a family one) so I re-created it for photos later in the week. This is my current favorite picture of these two girls.}

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{Eloise gets her love of popcorn from Aaron, but it didn’t take much convincing for Paga to have some too!}

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{I was SUPER nervous about the Apple Cup, but the Huskies did so well! Apparently I had nothing to worry about though because Wazzu didn’t show up to the game until the very end, and then it was too late! Go Dawgs!}

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{When Izzy was calm and sleepy, Eloise was a pretty big fan!}

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{We left at 6:30 this morning to hit the road back to Seattle. We didn’t get to see a real sunrise but it was still pretty to see dusk.}

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{We stopped in Baker City, Oregon at Sumpter Junction restaurant which is one that my dad suggested. This place has a train that runs thru the entire restaurant and I grew up going here on our roadtrips from Boise to Seattle (to visit my grandmother). Daphne didn’t really care about the train too much but did love Aaron and being out of her car seat.}

{The train going by our table. And clearly I am just as excited as Eloise! Plus, matching Christmas jammies are going to be on repeat for the next month!}

We spent the week in Boise with my family and had so much fun! It was wonderful, as always, to see friends and family that we just don’t get to see as often as we’d like. The week was mostly relaxing and I tried not to schedule too much. As with everyone else, we counted our blessings and things we were thankful for, and this year we have SO MUCH to be thankful for!

We drove back home today and the trip went really well. The girls did amazing the entire trip and all of the timing of stops for gas, potty, food just all worked out! We have a pretty packed week coming up and I am hoping to get back into the groove of normal life sooner rather than later. Plus, finally decorating for Christmas is on the agenda, though our tree will probably have to wait until next weekend.

How was your Thanksgiving week and long weekend?

M

P.S. Did you see our new blog header? I have been meaning to update it for the past few months, since Daphne was born, but didn’t get around to it. One of the photos from our Christmas card shoot was perfect (and I will be sure to share the rest in a few weeks).

P.P.S. It is officially Christmastime at The Petite Flag Shop and I am loving the new additions of mini flags and cards (I can’t decide which is my favorite). There is a 30% off sale (and free shipping, always) going on thru Cyber Monday if you use code: BLKFRIDAY17!

daphne {first halloween!}

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{Happy Halloween!} Daphne is dressing up as a donut this year to complement Eloise’s cupcake costume (which I will probably just post pictures of on Instagram and Facebook). I chose a similar color scheme (the sprinkles on both costumes are the same color) so the girls’ costumes are cute together but not too matchy-matchy! I followed this DIY Donut Costume Tutorial but used flannel for the donut and icing instead of felt and also sewed the donut instead of hot-gluing it all together (but trust me when I say I used a LOT of hot-glue for Halloween costumes this year!).

Daphne will probably join Eloise and Papa trick-or-treating at a few houses this year along with the parade before hanging at home with me to hand out candy to the kids (and Eloise will stay out longer this year with Aaron and some friends). We either get like 4 kids or like 150 depending on the year!

And see Eloise’s first Halloween here!

Happy Halloween Daphne!

M